Speaker Spotlight: Brian Fling

Next up in our interrogation πŸ˜‰ is Blue Flavor‘s Brian Fling!


Q. You’re speaking at a number of events in the coming months! Where do you find the time and why do you do it!?

A. My lord, I have no idea!

Q. You’ve become known as an expert on mobile, and are helping us to put together London’s Future of Mobile event, do you think enough designers and developers are working on mobile solutions yet? Or will this become a specialised branch of the industry?

A. Right now it is pretty specialized. Mobile solution providers typically either have a strong background in telecommunications or like myself, found themselves in the mobile field and have learned much of what they know after many years of working with really smart and experienced people.

From the web professionals perspective, this will change. The world of mobile and the world of Web Standards are coming closer together, and it is a lot easier to apply your existing knowledge and expertise to the mobile context. Mobile is moving very quickly toward the concept of using the web as a platform, something we are seeing happen very quickly with plethora of iPhone apps, like Leaflets.

But I think mobile as a whole will continue to be a somewhat specialized field. We web professionals tend to narrowly think of mobile in terms of the mobile web browser, but that is just one fraction of the entire mobile ecosystem. It is an entirely different medium with many different facets.

And to answer if I think there are enough mobile designers and developers out there, absolutely not. Mobile is a very hard nut to crack and there is a pretty significant shortage of experienced folks in the mobile field. It isn’t a space where you can pick up a few books and suddenly start doing, it takes time, patience and experience. I believe mobile design and development resources are going to be in high demand for many years to come.

Q. The sheer gottahaveitability of the iPhone is going to drag consumer and businesses up to speed with the possibilities of mobile?

A. There is a lot of conjecture about the iPhone, many dismiss the impact of the iPhone as hype, Mac fanatics or the power of the Apple marketing machine and they very well might be right.

But in my mind the iPhone is a significant event in mobile, not because of the technology or the device features, but in its power to shift the perceptions of the public at large. The iPhone has begun to capture the imagination of the public to what mobile technology can do for them… beyond making phone calls that is. To date that has never really been done successfully in the US.

I believe Apple has moved the bar so far forward that they have defined an era of mobile history. Now the entire mobile industry will focus on making devices and services akin to the iPhone. So much so that I predict in just a few years we will look back as the time before the iPhone as some sort of pre-historic era.

Q. Will the iPhone itself afford designers and developers more potential than other devices?

A. Absolutely. Safari for iPhone is one of the most Web Standard compliant browsers out there using the same code base as Webkit/Safari for the desktop.

For example when we built Leaflets we used pretty standard XHTML, but the real magic came from using Safari’s CSS3 to provide a great user experience without adding a ton of kilobits for the user to download. And by using web standard techniques we were able to design three unique iterations of the UI in less than two weeks, adapting it based on user feedback and testing.

And since the iPhone can be updated through iTunes, it allows Apple to keep the browser up to date with the latest adopted standards. This is something that has never been done in the embedded mobile browser space. On the vast majority of phones, in order to get an upgraded browser you needed to buy a new phone.

Q. What are you going to be talking about in your session at FOWD, and what do you hope people will take away?

A. My talk “Taking Your Site Mobile” will discuss the fundamentals of mobile web design and development. FOWD attendees should expect to walk away with the basics of what they need to know about creating a basic mobile web site for both the iPhone and traditional phones.

Q. Who do you think is really innovating in terms of development for mobile right now?

A. Right now, Apple has set the bar. I expect others will follow soon, but right now they are in a league of their own.

Many thanks to Brian!


1 Response to “Speaker Spotlight: Brian Fling”

  1. 1 Aryan January 27, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Awesome !! nice to read about you mr. fling πŸ™‚

    actually i am seeing FOWD first time but have subscribed the rss coz i think its really valuable to keep in touch. one more thing i would like to ask, actually I an india and can’t afford to attend this conference in London, so are you guys planning to put some conference excerpts/ videos/ speaches online,so that people like me could get benefited too. πŸ™‚ expecting a positive reply. thanx.


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